13 December 2007

My Mommy's Tote: Way more than a pop-up board book

I generally forego reviewing baby and kid products that have little more going for them than cute. Given that we're all about the time-saving, problem-solving hack and not the awwww factor most products I get pitched don't make it past my inbox. But when My Mommy's Tote (Workman Publishing) arrived, I was overcome with delight in spite of myself.

Amazon describes My Mommy's Tote as an "interactive gift" and a "die-cut cornucopia." To call it a book somehow doesn't do it justice. It has the sturdy feel of a board book, but it's designed to mimic the fun of exploring Mommy's purse and finding all sorts of exotic treasures. The design is amazing, and the details are clever (check out the "No whining" button on the front). There are all sorts of removable pieces, including Mommy's laptop (nice), a wallet with credit cards, and a wipe-off board. Lots of stuff to open, spin, flip, and manipulate. Dang cute.

From the same author: My Granny's Purse and My Grandpa's Briefcase.

Win it! You've got to see this for yourself. I'll send a copy of My Mommy's Tote to one random commenter who answers the following question:

What's the most useful kid-wrangling item you keep in your purse, bag or pocket?

At the moment, mine would be chocolate-dipped Altoids. The ultimate distraction, let me tell you.

I'll pick a winner on Friday 12/14 at 5pm PST!


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Honestly, my Ipod with video capabilities. I download a show or video that they love, and when I need them to quiet down, give them each an ear plug and let them go at it.

Little cars always fascinate my son and I can usually find one in my bag somewhere.

My little guy would LOVE this cool book!

Once when I couldn't find a pen (my usual standby) I let my daughter color with an old lipstick. I'm sure the other parents in that particular waiting room were thrilled at the example I set.

Ha- I have a 6.5 month old boy, so anything made of cardboard will work just dandy. But, of course, my keys are the ultimate most marvelous thing in the universe!

The classic wallet and the new classic cell phone (with buttons locked....)

I usually keep a small snack and a board book in my purse...

I keep a toy that she only gets to see when we are out and about...seems like a new toy each time she sees it!

My son really digs my cell phone, so we pulled out an old cell and gave it to him. He can "call" grandma anytime he wants!

I try to keep a picture book that she does not normally get to see in my bag. If all else fails she loves my keys

Ohhh pick me! My best wrangling device is food. He isn't picky- but his favorites are cheese crackers and goldfish.

My cell phone (with outgoing calls disabled) can buy me a solid 10 minutes of peace and quiet from my 14 month old. Car keys used to be popular, but not anymore. Paper and pen also work, but only when I can supervise. Kleenexes are fun for him to tear up, or I unfold it and put it on his head for a quick round of peek-a-boo.

I keep a matchbox police car my son goes nowhere without. :) It works wonders. heh

chapstick is what works for us and candy!! lots of suckers. oh and gum, they love gum.

An old cell phone. He doesn't care that he can't call anyone, he loves the buttons.

I have a board book, an only-when-we're-out toy, and a snack, but the only thing guaranteed to effectively wrangle are my car keys.

My iPhone loaded with episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and snacks. Those two items (together or seperate) can save us from a meltdown in almost any situation. :)

My son's young enough that we can get by with cheerios and look-alikes of grown-up items (like a keychain that looks like mine, since he can't have y keys while I'm driving). I'm excited to see what some of the parents of older kids have to say, though!

dumdum suckers, she LOVES them. And If I can find banana or some other not red/blue/purple color, the better.
Also I let her look through my wallet at all the "membership" type cards- video store etc.

When she was little it was a compact mirror. These days it's a container of trail mix.

I guess I should add that the trail mix doubles as a game. "Find me three raisins." "How many different things can you find?" or her favorite "Eat all the chocolate chips before mommy takes them."

Most of the items mentioned in previous comments are items that at one time or another, were used for useful "kid-wrangling" with our child.

But the item currently being used in my purse is a digital camera. Mesmerizes for a pretty good period of time.

My trick is "anything new". It can be absolutely anything: a balled up piece of paper, a doodad, or a thingamabobby - as long as its something she hasn't seen before. Keeps her entertained for at least 5 or 10 minutes!! :-)

Sigh. :-\

I keep Flickr MOO cards in my purse. 100 tiny photos of themselves keep them busy for a long while. Thanks!

I created a bead box for my 2 year old daughter... it has big (but much smaller than typical "toddler" wooden lacing beads) glass beads and smaller pony beads and a couple of strings from a bead necklace making kit for older children. She'll sit for at least 10 minutes or more fiddling with those beads and putting them on and off the string. I keep it in my purse and she only gets to play with it when I'm in extreme need of her to be quiet and occupied.

When I need to get some shopping done and my 2.5 yr old does not want to be in the cart, I pull out the IPod Nano. He loves it and loves listening to the music. It lets me get Christmas shopping done or grocery shopping without having to rush. It works perfect every time!

For my 15 mo. old ... my keys. For the 3 year old - any matchbox car.

Mine has GOT to be my cell phone. My daughter loves to "call" her daddy or her mimi or her pops on it. There have been times when it wasn't locked and she actually DID call! Now, when the cell phone rings she says, "Oh! It's MY phone!" :o)

My ipod nano... it's not a fancy one with video or anything, but my 2 yr old loves to put the earbuds in his ears and listen -- it keeps him quiet in nice restaurants!

Please Please Thinking Random Thoughts!!!

I keep balloons in my purse. If the kids start getting unruly at the grocery store for instance, I whip one out blow it up and they squeal with delight. Don't worry I am right there the whole time monitoring.

My favorite busy-maker is large cards cut out of construction paper with yarn to thread through. My older child loves it.

It would be my keys....Hands Down! But I couldn't tell you how many times he's lost them! My husband FINALLY came up with the idea to make him his OWN keychain with some old keys! Can we say DUH? I guess parenting a toddler takes it's toll on one's mind sometimes!

My Sigg water bottle with the active top is an absolute favorite for the kids in my life - it rates way above my cell phone and keys :)

This is the top you want: http://www.reusablebags.com/store/sigg-caps-active-bottle-tops-p-635.html

I keep a travel size Magnadoodle in my bag. It keeps all of my kids busy, from the 3yo to the 13yo. Hangman, anyone?

It has to be my phone. The camera is her favorite thing!
I've always carried crayons for distraction, but the phone wins over anything else!

anything edible for my 2 year old who is always up for a snack.

For my 7 year old, her mp3 player and headphones. For my 2 year old, nothing beats a sucker. Or, as he says, "Tucker!"

For my daughter, it's a handful of index cards and a pen. When she's in a drawing mood, I'll let her go to town. But if she doesn't want to wield the pen, she'll usually be entertained by my doodles as she tries to guess what I'm drawing. I expect as she gets older we'll get into games with the cards, like Hangman or the Dot game.

The cards are also handy for making notes to myself - I just have to remember to pull out the ones I've scribbled on before I give them to her to scribble on!

I keep my digital camera in my purse. We can take pics of each other, or look through all the old pics.

I always carry a half dozen or so crayons in one of those snack-size (small) ziploc bags. I also try to have with me one or two new coloring pages. But if I happen not to have a printout with me, I can always wrangle a piece of paper, which, along with the crayons, keeps my toddler happy for a while.

A metal band-aid box full of clothespins. Who knew?

Well my little one is almost 3 months old, so stuff from my purse doesn't really work just yet. But he loves loves loves to chew on my finger, a clean one of course.

It's great to read all these ideas though, I'll be using them soon!

Close tie: A small measuring tape or those little bottles of bubbles like they give at weddings. Generally the measuring tape wins, though.

For the preschooler, pen & paper or the polly pockets that live in my purse. For the 13mth-old, the steel mint box with anything that will make it rattle or a small mirror (he loves to kiss the baby). They both love the cell phone!

Tough call between my iPhone loaded with Wallace & Gromit videos, not to mention YouTube capabilities, and the Kipiis bib clip (make a bib out of a paper towel, napkin, whatever). Both get used regularly.

Oh, my kids would love to be allowed to play with Mommy's computer!

For us, it's jelly beans, a rubber band or my iPod shuffle. Sometimes all three!

I have a package of crayons and a small pad. That solves many a problem!

Really, nothing. I purposely carry a small purse and there's not a lot in there. I've tried letting him play with my cell phone, wallet, chapstick, etc. but he just throws it all overboard! Maybe the book would give me some good ideas! ;)

A pen/pencil and any form of scrap paper (even an old receipt from Starbucks!!)

My 5-year olds sons enjoy looking at my brag book of old pictures of themselves. They always drag it out whenever we are waiting somewhere. They also enjoy a small calculator that I keep in my purse.

Snacks or board books (certain ones saved for outings) usually hold the attention of my 19-month-old twins, until they both decide they HAVE to have the same book/ball/ whatever. Feeling inferior to you technical wizards downloading photos & videos for them on your Ipods!

My latest "trick" is mini canisters of playdoh. It keeps my 2.5 year old entertained while we enjoy dinner.
As for the 4 month old? Chili's coasters are doing the trick these days!

What is the age recommendation for the Mommy's tote? Amazon says 9-11 and somehow that doesn't seem quite right...

I keep an old cell phone in my briefcase which delights my daughter since she think she's getting away with something.

Keys are always a given to calm down the antsy toddler but with 2 year old twins you gotta have two so my back up is a tube of chapstick for my daughter and the keys for my son. Then both kids are happy and Mommy can finish what she was doing.

Fingerpuppets. Hardly take any room. I use different voices for each. If I'm otherwise busy, she can play with them like mini dolls.

Definitely the best kid wrangler in my purse is my cell phone. It can play music, take pictures, you can play games and call people. It keeps all my kids distracted from 4 to 15. The only problem is the fight over who gets it when... sigh...

For my 3.5 yr old boy, it's a tub of Playdoh. For my 1.5 yr old daughter, it's a snack bag of Trader Joe's chocolate toucans. Mmmm. Or maybe that's for me? I forget...

So many great ideas here.
My toddler daughter still loves the container for travel size wipes-I'll put a sheet of stickers, or kleenex or even some recipts in there and she finds much joy in the new treasure - once she gets it open!

This is kinda funny, my cousin gave me this bicycle reflector (it's about 5 1/2 inches long, diamond-shaped and a silvery white color) when my youngest was born to distract him while I got my haircut and I've kept it in my diaper bag ever since. He's five now, but the reflector lives on as a "magical" toy that holds my 8 month old twin boys' attention! I can't believe I've kept it this long and that it still serves it's purpose of entertaining the kids long after the other toys have hit the floor!

a ziplock filled with little things that she can't open but she can look at

I try to avoid handing over my keys to my 17 month old, but I will do so if it stops the whining! His favorite thing in my purse is a small flashlight (turned on, of course). I just have to shield my eyes from time to time!

Heh, I saw that in a bookshop over here the other day, only of course the title was "My Mummy's Handbag" instead. :o)

I just give Orion the whole handbag and he will happily prance around with it dangling from his arm for ages. It gives other people in the vicinity a laugh as well!

Burt's Bees Lip Balm....quiets him down every time!

For my 4 month old, it's a pacifier or a set of links. If he's tired, the paci is great. If he's bored, he loves to chew on the links.

I keep a bunch of thick Popsicle sticks (medical tongue thingies which the name escapes me) in my purse. my 2.5 yr lil' guy is endlessly fascinated with them like building, etc. it doesn't take up much room in the bag!

I give my 20-month-old daughter my own winter gloves. She puts them on her hands and flaps them around like they are giant foam fingers and generally cracks herself up while exclaiming "hand! hand!"

Snacks seem to be the only thing that works! I try to keep the keys for absolute emergencies as I'm convinced my 2yo will figure out how to start the car using our remote starter. :-)

I would have to say that my cell phone is my best "toy". The kids love to listen to the different ring tones and my new phone has video and picture taking capabilities which the kids love. They enjoy looking at themselves in pictures.

My cell phone w/camera or digital camera. The boys love to pose and be "good" for my camera. I think they may know I'll blog about it ;)

I have a palm sized bouncy ball that lights up. Great for grocery stores, outside walking around the neighborhood, and houses without toys. For restaurants, I bring a board book with the tabs that you open (all different kinds)...not destructive and quieter.

my celphone with the buttons locked. If I am feeling brave or desperate I will let my 4 year old use the camera on it to take pictures.

We'd be lost without a pen and paper. My kids are young enough that I don't normally trust them with an ink pen, so when I pull one out of my purse it seems like a special treat.

Without a doubt.... stickers and those little dum dum suckers. I hoard them. I never buy them though. I just pick them up at the bank, dry cleaners, etc.

My son is only 4 months old so I've been keeping a rattle and a small stuffed animal in there for emergencies. Surprisingly, he seems to be most amused when I put a burp cloth in his lap and he practices picking it up and letting go again.

My son is young, so it doesn't take much, but he loves his Sophie the Giraffe chew toy. And now that his dexterity has improved, he can squeeze it to make it squeak over and over....

I keep a disposable, plastic spoon in the bag... useful as a spoon and useful as a toy.

My keys, my cane (nothing entertains a waiting room of people like a 2 year old walking with a cane adjusted for a 5'4" person), a roll of tape. If all else fails, I let her have a field day with my wallet. That's always a winner (and a disaster).

A word of caution about old cell phones:

If you're using an old phone that just has no service (i.e. still has the batteries in it and would otherwise be functional), those phones still can dial 911. It's much kinder to the nerves of your local police dispatcher friends if you take the battery out, or make sure the phone is really, really, broken.

I keep pieces of ribbons in my purse - short enough so they can not harm themselves. All 3 of my little ones love them. They wave, chew on them, etc.

Keys or cell phone both work in a pinch, although I have to watch to make sure he doesn't turn the cellphone back on.

My 9 month old is fascinated by a keychain flashlight that I have...squeeze it and the light comes on. It's not super bright so it doesn't hurt his eyes, and it's made of a squishable plastic which he LOVES to chew on (under my supervision). Such fun! He would adore this "book" and so would I, as then maybe he would stop rooting around in my actual purse! :-)

Totally low tech: my car and house keys. The baby loves to chew them, and his older sister loves to wear the lanyard they're on as a necklace. I just have to make sure I'm well out of range of the car or they end up using the remote to unlock the car and open the doors.

GUM..sounds too simple huh? my daughter will just about anything for a piece of gum...she can be in the middle of a melt down and all I have to do is offer a piece of gum and amazingly enough....she calms down!.. I use it for everything..Emma if you_____ I'll give you a piece of gum.....

Whatever's handy: hairbrush, keys, cellphone, chapstick...lately I have a little fish tub toy in there (not sure how it ended up in my purse) so that's always good for 5min of "glug glug! glug glug!" (that's what a fish says, in case you didn't know...)

cell phone, hair thingy, duckie garbage bag holder top, mints from a restaurant we've been to recently....

travel magna-doodle!

That is too cute! I have bubbles and snacks - nothing gets the boys to behave faster than the promise of a little sugar treat!

Our extra mobile phone and my carabiner watch. One works for the 1 year old, one works for the 6 year old. And then they swap :-).

Smarties. They don't have the sticky-ness of a sucker, the melting-ness of chocolate, and they each get their own little package - what kid doesn't like that?

My son loves anything with buttons, so my cell phone is the best distraction ever!

A small baggie of crayons and a notepad work great for us. Plus a little tin of mints.

Hands-down, its the keys! Mine have a carabiner and a nylon strap with buckle (highjacked from a shopping cart) as part of the deal. Solid MINUTES of quality occupation!

An old travel size asprin bottle with what ever I could find that would make it rattle. My son ( and a few of my friends) always called my bag the Mary Poppins bag, never knew what I would pull out of it...lol

Strangely enough, it's my mini bottle of Purell. My daughter who can't stand having her hair washed is a fanatic about cleaning her hands!

Mine is a cheap-but-sturdy sparkley necklace. I can hand it to him in the car or fasten it to a grocery cart and get at least 5 minutes of distraction.

Car keys have always been a favorite of all my kids. This book looks really cool!

I always have one of those crayon 4-packs from CPK or the Fish Market or other kid-friendly restaurant in my diaper bag. I may not always have paper... but you can always find paper napkins if you're desperate.

We have the granny's purse book and it is amazing! My daughter loves it and so do the rest of my kids who are too big to admit it, so they just offer to read it to their sister.

I carry chapstick in my purse. Trinity will sit and apply it over and over and over until she can't stand it anymore and eats it, like a tootsie pop! It gives us lots of quiet time during church or in the car. She is a mess from sticking her finger way down in it and spreading it all over her hands and face. But she is happy and QUIET.

You sure do have contacts! I would love to review cutsie products and practical ones.

Yogurt Covered Raisins --- my 2 year old call them candy!

I keep a tablet of stickers in my bag: from the dollar store - *tons* of little stickers that take quite some time to get off the page. Can be a total time-consumer.

definitely chewy toys...i have teething twins!!

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